A conversation with Fletcher McCombie and Vince Coleman of Jabian Consulting

As a valuable Lumity partner, Jabian more than lives up to its reputation as a consulting firm with a community focus. Jabian’s dedication to Chicagoland was on display this past school year when its STEM professionals coached Lumity students at Thornridge High School on a Real World Challenge.  

“We had a 100% volunteer participation for the Real World Challenge. It was exciting to see our volunteers work with students to solve a problem they both really care about—how to make remote learning more engaging. The student teams developed really interesting solutions, including an idea for a course customization app that would allow them to communicate their interests to teachers so that teachers can then customize their lessons,” explains Vince Coleman, a senior manager at Jabian Consulting.

“At the same time, it was amazing how the Challenge itself engaged participants and built community between volunteers and students, students and students, and students and teachers,” Vince adds.

From Lumity’s perspective, much of the success of the Jabian/Thornridge Challenge can be attributed to how Vince and his colleague, Jabian Director and Lumity Associate Board Member Fletcher McCombie, put their strategic consulting skills to work on its behalf. They centered participant engagement as the driver. Here, in their words, are just a few of the engagement strategies:

  • On client engagement: “We also thought the Challenge provided an opportunity to expand the Lumity volunteer network beyond Jabian and so we invited our clients to be judges for the student presentations. We were excited that representatives from ABC Supply Company, Cushman & Wakefield, and Mauser Packaging Solutions could join us.” – Fletcher
  • On supporting volunteers: “Lumity was really helpful in making sure our employees were prepared for the Challenge, reminding them that students were responsible for doing the work while they were responsible for coaching them. We also used tools during the Challenge—such as a running chat—to give volunteers pointers and tips so they felt supported throughout their time working with students.”—Vince
  • On employee participation: “We wanted to make sure all of our staff participated, so we worked from the beginning to build excitement about the experience. As a start, we drafted three different types of Real World Challenges, had an office vote, and then iterated on the Challenge so everyone had the chance for input and saw it as meaningful.” – Vince

Here at Lumity, we were thrilled to hear Vince sum up Jabian’s Real World Challenge experience as “easy to set up, easy to do, low barriers and low friction for a super rewarding experience”—with Fletcher concurring. “We encourage other businesses to join,” said Fletcher.  “It’s a small investment with a huge return and opportunity for kids. To a person, everyone at Jabian thought it was beneficial.” 

Lumity, of course, agrees—and is thankful for Jabian’s dedication!

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